From his youth, TJ Leyden was taught to fight, to hurt, and to hate. Cunningly brilliant and deceptively clean-cut, TJ found that life with the Skinheads was exactly what he—and they—needed. Quickly rising to the top, TJ recruited members for the Skins, and in return he earned a name and a reputation as one of the most powerful men in the White Power Movement. With a skill for fanning the fires of hatred and an ability to elude the law, it seemed that nothing would stop TJ—that is, until he became a father.

As his own children grew, so did TJ’s uncertainty about the cause he’d endorsed for so long. One fact finally emerged from all the racist propaganda: white power wasn’t about being white; it was simply about having someone to hate. And once he realized this truth, TJ knew his life could never be the same.

Skinhead Confessions takes you on an unbelievable ride through a dark world of violence to one of openness and faith in the future. TJ’s honesty and courage—even in the face of death—have inspired people across America to take action against gang violence and hate crimes.

I heard the gasp of horror and knew I’d been caught. For several years I had hidden the depth of my involvement in the Skinheads from my parents, covering up my tattoos with long shirts, concealing my violent life through lies and deceit. Until now, my own mother hadn’t known how far I was entrenched in the world of hate.

“What are those?” she cried, pointing at my body, which was covered from my neck to the middle of my back in graphic, sinister tattoos. “Tell me or I will call the police!”

No way in hell I was going to tell her what they meant—the hate crimes I had committed, the people I’d hurt, stabbed, and maimed to earn those tattoos. No way would I tell her about the hundreds of kids I’d initiated to follow me into the White Power Movement and the things they did for me every day.

A book unlike any other, this is the amazing true story of one person’s journey from hatred to hope.

“The fact that TJ was very, very intelligent made him even more dangerous than your average gang member. Seriously, if we could have found a way to put TJ in jail, we would have because of his political views. We were much more interested in him than any of his underlings, and we were gathering as much intelligence on him as we could to build a case that would put him away for a long, long time. The problem was TJ’s influence over the youngsters. He helped make the problem in the community much bigger than we wanted it to be. His influence was too widespread.”

– Detective Dale Jensen, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department

“The thing I like about TJ is that he is REAL. Lots of people talk about hate and diversity in sterilized language. TJ doesn’t do that. He tells it like it was. And like it is.”

– J. Colleen Brown,Community Outreach Specialist,
Northern Ohio Hate Crimes Working Group

“My mission is to bring more and more people to the truth that tolerance itself can be a way of life, a way of thinking and doing and being.

I love to motivate and inspire kids to become more than what they think they are capable of. I like to motivate law enforcement groups to learn, understand, and watch for signs of hate groups and put a stop to them, as well as provide tolerance education in areas it is desperately needed. I love teaching the military how to erase the horrid stench of racism from their ranks and continue to walk the talk of tolerance. I love bringing the tolerance message to college students and others in education who can make a difference in the life of a child, or go on to help create a world of more understanding and cooperation. I only hope that this story, my story, can and will inspire others to know that it is never too late.” – TJ Leyden